Gwadar Ignites Trade and Connectivity between Pakistan and China

By Muhammad Asif Noor | Gwadar Pro Jun 2, 2023

Editor's Note: The writer is the Founder of Friends of BRI Forum. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of Gwadar Pro.

In a significant milestone, the Gwadar Port achieved a momentous feat by commencing its first-ever direct export to China last week. Five containers laden with raw pharmaceutical materials departed from the Gwadar Free Zone en route to Tianjin, bustling Chinese port city and will reach China in June. There will be a surge in bilateral trade between Pakistan and China in the coming months. This remarkable achievement holds immense significance for Gwadar and symbolizes a historical turning point for the region. Gwadar Port, a prominent driver of the high-quality development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), represents a vital pilot project within the ambit of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). It is a crucial platform for fostering deeper bilateral cooperation between the two nations.

The strategic significance of Gwadar Port within the CPEC, a flagship project of the BRI, cannot be overstated. As the BRI completed a decade of existence, Gwadar Port is building its new heights by beginning to be operationalized and injecting the fresh impetus in Pakistan’s economic development.

The initiation of this direct export operation has breathed new life into the CPEC, transforming it from a concept on paper into a tangible and dynamic project. It strengthens the strategic significance of Gwadar as a vital node within the CPEC framework. This step will also silences the skeptics who had doubted the success of the BRI and CPEC initiatives. Gwadar has the key to reshape Pakistan’s economic landscape.

The development of a symbiotic relationship between the Gwadar Special Economic Zone and Gwadar Port not only amplifies the prospects for trade but also lays the groundwork for economic expansion and increased prosperity in the region. By leveraging the potential of local industries and employment generation, Pakistan benefits from the growth of export-oriented enterprises. This positive trajectory aligns with the broader objectives of the CPEC, aiming to enhance regional connectivity, stimulate economic development, and uplift the livelihoods of the Pakistani people.

As the integration between the Gwadar Special Economic Zone and Gwadar Port deepens, it is expected to streamline trade operations, optimize logistics, and create a conducive environment for businesses to thrive. This collaborative framework will bolster Pakistan's export capacity and foster a mutually beneficial partnership with China. As Gwadar emerges as a vibrant economic hub, it has the potential to become a catalyst for economic growth, job creation, and increased revenue generation, contributing to the overall development and prosperity of Pakistan.

To facilitate trade with China and enhance financial channels between the two countries, it is advisable for Pakistan to utilize the State Bank of Pakistan as a pilot park for settling payments in RMB at Gwadar. This initiative aims to streamline transactions and improve the efficiency of financial operations between China and Pakistan. The establishment of direct exports from Gwadar Port to China not only serves as a significant milestone but also acts as a magnet for global investors, attracting their attention to exploring investment opportunities in Pakistan.

The commencement of formal direct exports from Gwadar Port marks a substantial achievement for Pakistan. It establishes a permanent avenue for export growth, ensuring a consistent stream of foreign exchange inflows into the country. Gwadar's potential to contribute to the socioeconomic development of Pakistan is heightened by its connection with numerous Free and Special Economic Zones throughout the country. As these economic zones become fully operational, Gwadar Port can fully unleash its export handling potential, thereby catalyzing economic growth.

Gwadar Port is poised to foster high-quality development and drive efficient economic activity for Pakistan. This achievement raises the stakes for global investors, making the Pakistani economy increasingly attractive and paving the way for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the country. Supporting the Gwadar Port Authority and Special Economic Zones has become a crucial policy objective for Pakistan, as it aligns with promoting local manufacturing and export growth. By providing the necessary support and infrastructure, Pakistan aims to create an enabling environment for businesses to flourish and attract domestic and foreign investment.

The growth and success of Gwadar Port hold immense significance for Pakistan's economic landscape. It opens doors to new opportunities and creates a favorable environment for increased trade, investment, and job creation. As Pakistan continues to prioritize the development of Gwadar Port and its associated economic zones, the country is well-positioned to unlock its true potential, attract further foreign investment, and establish itself as a regional hub for trade and commerce.

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